Island life comes to London

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The Independent Culture

U2 made a surprise appearance at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire last week, for one of a series of five concerts to celebrate 50 years of Island Records.

The band strolled on stage, joining Baaba Maal, to perform "One" and Bob Marley's "One Love". Bono went on to introduce Yusuf Islam, who first signed to Island Records 40 years ago as Cat Stevens. It was quite a week as Island artists past and present gathered together, with Adrian Boot, former in-house photographer for Island and Marley's official photographer, on hand to capture the celebrations both on stage and backstage. The event was organised by Island founder Chris Blackwell, who started the label in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1959, with £1,000, before moving to London in the early Sixties and eventually signing acts, including Marley, who would become superstars. Others performing at the birthday gig included Sly and Robbie, Grace Jones and Aswad. They were followed by the Birmingham reggae legends Steel Pulse, and new kids The Fratellis and Bombay Bicycle Club. Then Paul Weller, Keane, Tom Tom Club and Ladyhawke took to the stage. Errant Island artist Amy Winehouse, still on a sabbatical on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, pulled out of the final concert.